Who are the ADULT Learners?

Adult learners, also known as nontraditional students, are individuals who pursue education beyond the typical age range associated with traditional college students. These learners have distinct characteristics that differentiate them from traditional students:

  • Life Experience: Adult learners often have more life experiences than traditional students. They may have work experience, family responsibilities, and a diverse range of personal and professional backgrounds.
  • Diverse Backgrounds: Adult learners come from diverse backgrounds. They may be returning to education after spending time in the workforce, raising a family, or addressing other life priorities.
  • Varied Educational Histories: Some adult learners may have attended college earlier in life and are returning to upgrade their skills or pursue a different career path. Others may not have completed high school and are seeking education to enhance their employment prospects.
  • Multiple Responsibilities: Adult learners often juggle multiple responsibilities, such as work, family, and community commitments. Balancing these responsibilities with academic pursuits can be challenging.
  • Motivation and Goal Orientation: Adult learners typically have a strong sense of purpose and motivation. They are often driven by specific goals, such as career advancement, personal development, or the pursuit of a passion.
  • Different Learning Styles: Adult learners may have different learning preferences and styles compared to younger students. They bring a wealth of real-world experiences to the learning environment, contributing to a diverse and dynamic classroom atmosphere.
  • Financial Considerations: Many adult learners have financial responsibilities, such as supporting a family or managing existing financial commitments. Balancing the costs of education with other financial obligations is a common concern.

Rockland Community College recognizes the unique needs of adult learners and offers an affordable education to cater to their specific circumstances. The institution provides flexible scheduling, online learning options, and tailored support services, making education accessible for individuals at different stages in their lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Embarking on an educational journey as an adult learner comes with its own set of challenges, especially when balancing the demands of work, family, and personal commitments. At RCC, we understand the intricacies of adult life and have tailored our programs to seamlessly integrate with your busy schedule. Here are the key benefits that showcase our commitment to flexibility and support for adult learners:

Diverse Program Offerings:
At RCC, we take pride in offering over 35 academic programs, ensuring that you have a plethora of options to align your studies with your unique interests and career aspirations. This diversity allows adult learners to choose a path that suits their personal and professional goals.

Schedule Flexibility:
Life doesn’t adhere to a 9-to-5 schedule, and neither do our programs. We recognize the importance of flexibility in scheduling, providing courses during the daytime, evenings, and even weekends. This flexibility ensures that adult learners can find a balance that fits into their busy lives without compromising on education.

Embrace Online Learning:
For those who prefer the convenience of remote learning, RCC offers fully online programs or hybrid online/in-person formats. This flexibility in delivery methods acknowledges the need for adaptable learning environments, allowing adult learners to engage with their studies from the comfort of their own space.

Part-Time or Full-Time Enrollment:
Adult learners often have diverse commitments, and we understand that. Whether you choose to take a lighter course load as a part-time student or immerse yourself fully as a full-time student, our programs are designed to accommodate various preferences. This adaptability ensures that education can be pursued at a pace that aligns with your individual circumstances.

Personalized Academic Advisor Support:
Navigating the academic landscape can be challenging, especially for those juggling multiple responsibilities. That’s why RCC provides dedicated academic advisors who are ready to assist adult learners in building a customized schedule based on their unique needs. This personalized support ensures that you receive guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

Rockland Community College is dedicated to maintaining highly affordable tuition and fees, making quality education accessible to a diverse range of students. Moreover, the college recognizes the importance of financial flexibility, offering payment plans that allow students to manage their expenses conveniently.

For prospective students considering enrollment at Rockland Community College, accessing essential resources is crucial for managing the costs of education. The College provides a comprehensive set of tools and information to help students navigate the financial aspects of their academic journey. By visiting the official financial aid page students can explore various financial aid options.

If you are a veteran, please access the Veterans Affairs page for more information on funding your education.

Transferring credits from a previous institution can significantly benefit students, streamlining their educational journey and contributing to a more efficient and cost-effective path towards earning a degree. Rockland Community College recognizes the value of prior coursework. The incoming transfer page provides valuable information on the seamless process of credit transfer.

Rockland Community College acknowledges the diverse contexts in which learning occurs and employs multiple avenues to confer college credit to students with an array of educational backgrounds. Students currently enrolled at Rockland Community College may qualify for credit through various programs, including:

  • College credits earned from other colleges or universities
  • Standardized tests like AP, CLEP, DANTES, IB, and others
  • Institutional Challenge Exams
  • Attainment of Industry Credentials
  • Completion of Apprenticeship Training
  • Recognition of Armed Forces Training
  • Portfolio Evaluation

Students are encouraged to consult an academic advisor about Credit for Prior Learning in their educational planning.

Learn more about our current Credit for Prior Learning Policy.

The time it takes to complete an associate/certificate degree at RCC can vary based on several factors. The typical timeframe for completing an associate degree is around two years for full-time students. However, several factors can influence the duration:

Enrollment Status: Full-time students generally complete their associate degrees in two years, while part-time students may take longer.

Program Requirements: some programs may have more or fewer required credits, affecting the time needed for completion.

Transfer Credits: if you have transfer credits from previous education or advanced placement (AP) courses, you may be able to complete your degree more quickly.

Course Availability: the availability of required courses can impact how quickly you can progress through your program.

Personal Schedule: your personal schedule and the time you can dedicate to coursework will influence the time needed to complete your degree.

Summer & Winter Sessions: if you take classes during summer sessions, you may be able to accelerate your progress.

To get an accurate estimate, it’s recommended to consult with an academic advisor at RCC who can provide information specific to your situation and the requirements of your chosen program. They can help you create a plan tailored to your needs and goals.

Support services offered by colleges play a crucial role in helping our students succeed by addressing various aspects of their academic, personal, and social well-being. Below you will find a list of support services offered at RCC:

  • Student Success: At Rockland Community College, you are provided with a Student Success Team that will help you with your academic journey, career exploration, transfer planning, support service referrals, and more
  • Accessibility Services: works collaboratively with the College community to facilitate equal access for students with disabilities to the educational programs, services and facilities of Rockland Community College.
  • Athletics: Rockland Community College offers a highly competitive athletic program within a supportive academic environment, with a strong focus on assisting student athletes in their pursuit of a four-year college degree.
  • Connection Center: provides non-academic support to students and their families. The Center has compiled this list of county, state and national resources that offer support.
  • Student Involvement: offers exciting opportunities to meet new friends, gain valuable career expertise and explore different cultures.
  • Tutoring Center: helps you to strengthen your study skills and review course content for free. Our tutors have varying specializations that include Math, Physics, Chemistry, and more.
  • Counseling: provides help for students facing personal problems, feeling emotionally distressed, or experiencing a crisis can see a counselor for confidential, short-term counseling.

If you are looking for a path to completing your high school equivalency (HSE) diploma while starting your associate degree, our 24-credit program might be a great fit for you. Students attend regular college classes at RCC required for the college degree they choose and earn their HSE with the same college credits as part of their chosen degree program. Upon completion of the 24 credits required to earn the HSE students do not need to take an HSE test or special HSE classes. 

Learn more about our 24-Credit HSE Program.

Rockland Community College’s Workforce Development offers courses and programs with flexible schedules, small class numbers, and reasonably priced tuition to meet the requirements of working adults. We provide outstanding employment prospects in a competitive work market, and we offer a wide selection of comprehensive certificate programs.

Please check out our Workforce Development offerings.

Student Testimonials

Welcome to an inspiring series of videos featuring adult learners from Rockland Community College who generously share their transformative journeys. In these heartfelt testimonials, adult learners open up about the profound impact their time at Rockland Community College has had on both their personal and professional lives. Each video delves into the unique experiences and challenges these individuals faced, highlighting the ways in which the college environment played a pivotal role in shaping their growth. From balancing work and family responsibilities to navigating the intricacies of higher education, these stories showcase the resilience and determination of adult learners.

Prepare to be inspired by the unique journeys of these remarkable adult learners as they share the transformative impact of their Rockland Community College experiences.